Did you know that young people today are more likely to abstain from alcohol, illicit drugs and tobacco than any time since 2001? Contrary to popular belief, young people are actually choosing to drink less or abstain from alcohol completely, while alcohol consumption in older age groups is increasing.
According to the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household survey, in 2016 82 per cent of teenagers aged 12-17 years abstained from drinking compared to 72 per cent in 2013. If we look even further back, alcohol consumption has reached its lowest point since the sixties and data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that this is thanks to reductions in youth drinking.
Driving healthy outcomes
Although these statistics show positive shifts in young people's behaviours and attitudes towards alcohol, there's no denying that alcohol-related harm remains a problem area among NSW youth. With young people regularly exposed to a high volume of alcohol promotion which links alcohol to sport and social success, they are constantly being fed contradictory messages about the effects of alcohol.
The household survey revealed that five per cent of young people aged 12-17 drank more than four standard drinks on one occasion, placing them at risk of immediate harm. Compared to other age groups, teenagers are particularly vulnerable to alcohol-related harms and even small amounts of alcohol can have damaging effects on adolescent brains.
Studies indicate that healthy living is important to younger people, and when educated on the affects and impacts of alcohol and other drugs they are able to make better-informed decisions. This suggests that (among other strategies) an increased focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle – whether this be through regular exercise or community groups - could be crucial in declining youth drinking.
Celebrating NSW youth
NSW Youth Week celebrates young people across every state and territory in Australia. Running this year from April 13th-22nd, it is organised by young people, for young people in communities across NSW and Australia.
The 2018 Youth Week theme is 'Unity Through Diversity' and is the single largest celebration for young people across NSW aged 12-24. Youth will have the opportunity to share ideas, attend live events and festivals, have their voices heard on issues of concern to them, showcase their talents, take part in competitions and more importantly – have fun!
Events include touch football competitions, discos, games nights, movie and pizza nights, skateboarding, dodge ball tournaments and lots more.
Following the success of the NSW Youth Week program, Youth Week became a National event in 2000. National Youth Week is jointly supported by the Australian Government, State and Territory Governments and Local Governments.
Be a part of Youth Week 2018 and sign up to an event near you today: https://www.youthweek.nsw.gov.au/
Ready player one? Test your drug and alcohol knowledge by visiting The Quiz Room here.